Sean Penn sat in front of me in history class, junior year at Santa Monica High School — the school rising on a hill with a quadrangle you see in ‘Rebel Without a Cause.’ He kept turning around to talk, the blue-eyed boy with all the questions. The younger, brown-eyed girl had all the answers — at least in history class. At 16, the existentialist devilish streak was already a mile wide. I got to know him well, coming of age.
Spoiler alert: It involves lying. Treating a Michael Bay film as if it’s a documentary with bearing on Hillary Clinton’s service as secretary of state doesn’t make a lot of sense. But that’s exactly what Kelly did.
Formal experimentation and challenging social commentary are the creative signatures of director Todd Haynes, a filmmaker whose central concern is oppressive moral authoritarianism on the lives of those who don’t conform to gendered or sexual expectations. In Carol,’ he puts forth a striking and distinctive vision.
Stephen King’s most terrifying invention may be something much closer to home — a coarse, unstable demagogue who enters the political arena seemingly out of nowhere, rides a wave of populism to an unlikely White House victory, and raging with messianic self-regard incites a nuclear apocalypse. Sound at all familiar?
In the new film, Rocky still ascends those steps. But he walks, he needs help. He has to take a breather. It is a soulful juxtaposition to his run up those same stairs when he was young, a moment of almost unbearable tenderness that reminds you just how long — and how short — is 39 years.
A theater critic can tell you the real reason Macbeth is cursed. Of all Shakespeare’s great tragedies, this is the one that most often disappoints onstage. But on-screen it doesn’t have the same jinxed reputation.
Creed, the latest installment in the Rocky saga, is like that aging fighter on the undercard who you hope can just hold his own and escape the ring with his life but you fear will get his lights knocked out. After all, this is the seventh film in a franchise that seemed to have run its course.
Huey P. Newton and Eldridge Cleaver are dead, Bobby Seale is 78, Kathleen Cleaver is 70, the events that turned all of them into national figures are decades in the past. So how is it that ‘The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution’ comes off as the most relevant and contemporary of documentaries?